As I’ve indulged Colt’s growing love for space and engineering the last few years I’ve fallen for it, too. The dreaming big, the achieving the impossible, the magical reality of the whole thing. It’s all just so damn inspiring. Together we’ve visited Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the National Air and Space Museum in D.C., the Cosmosphere in Kansas, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago — and more. Honestly, I’ve seen more space memorabilia than I could ever remember or retain — but he can’t get enough. So we go.

And Space Camp was his ultimate summer camp wish this past year. He saved money and made choices — and finally! Space Camp week arrived!

So many friends and family have asked about Space Camp for the budding engineers/scientists/astronauts in their lives so Colt agreed to an interview. He hopes his experience will inspire more kids to go to Space Camp and have an incredible week.

And for a Mom’s perspective –> A Mom’s Guide to Space Camp

{Quick note: We’re not being compensated or endorsed by Space Camp — we’re just a space-loving, experience-seeking family. So this info is one family’s take. If you have questions – contact Space Camp. We have found their customer service to be EXCELLENT.}


First things first – tell us about yourself. And why did you want to go to Space Camp?

My name is Colt and I’m 11 years old. I enjoy engineering and I enjoy space, and I wanted to know more. There is a lot of history in Huntsville when it comes to rockets, and I enjoy activities involving space. I want to be an aeronautical engineer when I grow up and Huntsville is THE ROCKET CITY so it’s a good place to learn.

I also enjoy meeting new people and I knew it would be a good experience for me. I’m really one of the only people I know who enjoys space like I do, so I thought at Space Camp there would be a LOT of people who enjoy space like I do. And I was right.

 

Do you remember your first impression? What did you think of Space Camp right off the bat?

It looked extremely big — and small at the same time. Because I saw the big rocket, I saw the big dorm, but I knew there were three dorms. And I only saw that one. So that’s one reason why I thought it looked small. I didn’t really see any buildings that looked big enough for the rocket I knew was in there. And I realized it goes back a long way — so when you look, it seems small but there’s A LOT there. It’s actually quite large and you do a lot of walking. Be prepared to walk. I can only remember one place we drove — everywhere else we walked.

 

How was the food? Did you have a lot of options? Did you have snacks during the day? Do you think campers should carry water bottles during the day?

Well, the food was pretty good. We had specific days. So one day would be American day and we’d have, like, hamburgers and chicken nuggets, those were two options. And then the next day we’d have Russian day and it’d be like Russian noodle fish. So we have different days. There are so many kids from different heritages that will need different food and like that sort of stuff. And so you have three options. They have a salad bar, which I got everyday. It’s very good. It’s very plentiful. You have a meal, you have a side dish, you have some extras, and that’s for all three meals. And the breakfast is the same all week.

But one thing they tell you to do is eat what you want, but get what you want and don’t waste anything. Commander’s Cup points  go toward how much you waste. And that’s a very big deal at Space Camp. Not being wasteful.

You have three meals a day and I didn’t really carry any snacks. But if you’re someone who gets hungry easier, then you might want to carry a granola bar or something. As long as they don’t have peanut butter. There’s very strict rules against peanut butter.

Water, I’d carry water. Like, it is going to be hot. It’s Alabama, in the summer.  It’s going to be hot. And you’re indoors a lot, but you’re also outdoors a lot. So bring water.

 

Tell me about your room. Was it comfortable? Were you cold or warm at night? Or just right? Were you glad you brought your own pillow and blanket — should other kids do that?

Um, they give you a pillow and sheets. That’s all they give you. So I would advise if you’re very picky about where you sleep, bring your own pillow. Maybe bring your own blanket. I was comfortable every night.  I brought a sleeping bag, a blanket and my own pillow. Which was very helpful.

Um, you sleep with six or seven kids in your bunk. There are bunk beds. I took a bottom bunk and I had a little closet thing on mine.

Lights out is 9:30. I was a little cold at night — the rooms are pretty well air conditioned.

One thing I would also mention is the showers. Showers are first come – first served, like, I usually ran and grabbed my stuff and just undressed in the shower. Bring your own soap – and bring shower shoes!

Your bunkmates. Where were they from? All from the United States? Do you think you’ll keep in touch with them when you all get home?

Everybody in our room was from the United States. The farthest kid we had was from Oregon. He was from Oregon and he was a National Park junkie like me. Um, I had seven kids, the closest one was from Central Alabama, and the one from Oregon, seven boys in all. One boy’s last name was Armstrong – which I thought was cool.

 

What was the most surprising thing about Space Camp?

They teach you a lot. There are, I think, four classes over the course of the week and morning class time and they teach us about like, the future of space, so like all the private companies like SpaceX, and they’ll teach us about rocketry. And I was surprised how many classes there were.

And everybody in my bunk was a first-timer. We only had two people that had gone before in our whole group. Um, I only saw one other kid throughout the whole camp that was from Arkansas. From Bentonville!  I only knew because he looked at me and said, Go Hogs! because I was wearing a Hogs t-shirt.

 

What was the weather like? Super hot? Did you wear hat/sunglasses/shorts and that helped?

Very hot. Wear shorts.

I wore shorts and a t-shirt most days. I wore long sleeves to bed because it was a little cold at night, and it rained a few days so I needed a rain jacket. But yeah, shorts and a t-shirt. And a hat.

 

What activities did you do that were non-space related? Swimming? Games?

Swimming! We did team building and swimming one day, but it was one of the days it rained a bit so it was short. Most things are space related. Except lunch, ha ha.

Did you use your camera? Would you take a camera again next time?

Yeah, I used my camera some. I would bring it again. I didn’t bring a charger because I didn’t think I’d use it much — and it died. So I’ll definitely bring a charger next time.

 

Were you nervous going to overnight camp for the first time? Do you have any advice for other kids going to overnight camp for the first time, too?

I was a little bit nervous because I had never been too far away from home without my parents. But I knew my mom was in town the first night so that helped, and I got to call my parents every night and I enjoyed that. But like, they also take great care of you. They really make you feel at home and everyone, all the staff there are nice.

Um, just don’t, just don’t be afraid too much. Um, nothing bad’s gonna happen. They just warn you about some stuff like don’t be too loud in your bunk at night.

 

What advice would you give other kids interested in Space Camp?

It’s a cool experience that you’ll never forget and like, it’s worth going.

And it’s fun. They teach you a lot and it’s a fun experience.

Do you want to go to Space Camp again another summer? Why or why not?

Yes! And maybe do something different like Aviation Challenge. I loved it and want to do it every summer.

 

What was your #1 favorite thing about the week?
1/6th Moon Chair Simulator

The flight simulator and the stuff that they immerse you in — they make you feel like you’re in a flight or like the 1/6th moon chair. Stuff like that.

 

What was your #1 LEAST favorite thing about the week?

Getting sick. And missing graduation.

{Mom note: We were having breakfast in the hotel, minutes away from heading across the street to see our Space Camper graduate, when my phone rang — it was the Space Camp Nurse. Our graduate was being quarantined in Sick Bay, and not able to participate in the graduation ceremony. We all agreed it was a bummer — and DEFINITELY not the way we wanted to end the week — but if you have to get sick, best it be the very last morning, right? He didn’t actually miss a minute of camp activities — except the graduation ceremony itself. But UGH.}

 

What else? What did I forget to ask about?

I got to see Apollo 16! The capsule is in the Davidson Center along with a lot of other super cool exhibits. We got to visit it one day and I was so excited to see 16.

Apollo 16! (He’s slowly making the pilgrimage to each of the Apollo capsules around the country — he’s almost visited them all!)

 

There you have it. One starry-eyed perspective on the life-changing week that was Space Camp. We hope you enjoy it this much if you go, too — and we want to hear about it!

Don’t forget to check out a Mom’s perspective for all things registration and packing and more.  –> A Mom’s Guide to Space Camp

2 thoughts on “A First-Time Camper’s Take on Space Camp

  1. Colt , what a great experience you had. You are very bright young man and I hope I live long enough to see you take off on your first space adventure.
    Janice Ferguson

    1. Oh thank you for this! I can’t wait for his first space adventure, too!

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